My in-laws recently gifted us with nearly a dozen pears from their red Bartlett pear tree. They also let me borrow a tart pan, so the only sensible next step was to bake a pear tart. My recipe is based on this one from The Mediterranean Dish, with only a couple of changes – the biggest being the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg to the fig puree body of the tart. These spices enhance the sense of a “fall” flavor – making this fig pear tart the perfect accompaniment to a cozy sweater and a big mug of apple cider.Jump to Recipe
While this fig pear tart feels deeply cozy to my taste buds, it does take quite a bit of time to make. If you’re searching for a fruity fall flavor but with a bit less work, try this recipe for persimmon pudding. Persimmons are a midwestern fruit that ripen in the fall, and they also lend themselves well to a soul-nourishing autumnal dessert.
Ingredients for our fig pear tart
- For the crust, you’ll need all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla bean paste.
- For the filling you’ll need 8-10 pears, water, butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the majority of one 10 oz. jar of fig preserves.
- For the pear tart’s topping, you’ll need the rest of that jar of fig preserves, plus some water and a teaspoon of honey
How to make a fig pear tart
Arrange your oven racks, positioning one in the middle of your oven and one near the top. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
While the oven is preheating, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in melted butter and vanilla paste. You are welcome to use traditional vanilla extract, but the Nielsen-Massey paste offers a distinctly stronger vanilla flavor. Continue mixing until combined; the final batter should resemble cookie dough.
Press dough into greased tart pan, covering the bottom and edges of the pan in an even layer. You are welcome to weigh the crust down (see link for instructions) for a more even bake on the bottom of your crust, but since this dough is so thick, it isn’t a requirement.
Bake crust on the middle rack of your oven for 25-30 minutes; remove when golden brown. When done, allow to cool on counter while leaving oven turned on.
While crust is baking, cut 4-5 pears into thin slices, discarding the cores. These will go on top of your tart, so try to keep the slices consistent in size and shape!
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in saucepan. Add pear slices and 1 tablespoon of water; cover and cook until pears are just tender (2-3 minutes). Immediately pour pears into a separate dish to cool.
Next, dice 3-4 pears, discarding cores. These will be part of the underlying sauce, and do not need to look pretty.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add diced pears, ⅔ cup of fig jam, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes before puréeing mixture with immersion blender. Cook another 5 minutes. Purée one more time, until sauce is smooth. Cook sauce for 5-7 more minutes, stirring frequently, allowing the sauce to reduce.
Spread pear-fig sauce in cooled crust. Do not overfill; you will need room to add sliced pears. (Extra sauce goes great with vanilla ice cream!)
Arrange pear slices in concentric circles atop pear-fig sauce.
Bake tart on middle rack of oven for 30 minutes, in oven preheated to 350 degrees F.
While tart is baking, mix reserved 4 tablespoons of fig jam with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of water. Mix into a slurry; you may need to microwave to help ingredients combine.
As soon as you remove tart from oven, carefully brush fig-honey mixture on top using a pastry brush.
Place tart on top rack in oven and change setting to broil (low). Broil briefly (1-3 minutes), watching carefully! Remove as soon as the tips of pears appear golden brown, but before they blacken.
Once the top of the tart has caramelized, remove from oven and allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours) before serving. Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream would pair delightfully with this tart.
I hope you enjoy!
Autumn Pear Tart
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)
- 8-10 pears
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup fig preserves (the majority of one 10oz jar)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons fig preserves (remainder of the 10oz jar)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Rearrange your oven racks, ensuring one is in the second-from-top position, and one is in the middle slot. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your tart pan.
- Combine salt, flour and sugar.
- Melt butter, then mix it with your vanilla bean paste.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. The batter should resemble cookie dough.
- Transfer dough to greased tart pan. Press batter into the pan so that it is of a (relatively) consistent thickness along the bottom and up the sides.
- Place crust on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes; it should be golden brown when it is finished. Remove from oven and allow to cool; leave your oven on.
- Slice 4-5 pears, discarding the cores. (These pears will be going on top of your tart, so keep the pieces as uniform and attractive as possible. See photos for guidance.)
- Place 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Once it has melted, add pear slices and 1 tablespoon of water. Cover. Cook until pears are barely tender (2-3 minutes). Once cooked, pour pear slices onto a plate and allow to cool..
- Dice your remaning pears, discarding the core. (These will be turning into puree – there's no need for them to be pretty.)
- In the same saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add diced pears, 2/3 cup of your fig jam, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
- Stir fig and pear mixture frequently, until pears are very tender. Then, use an immersion blender to macerate into a sauce, being careful of hot spatters. (If you don't have an immersion blender, a large fork or potato masher will also suffice, though you will end up with larger chunks.)
- Cook sauce for 5-10 minutes, reducing heat to low once the sauce begins to simmer. You may need to repeat your blending/mashing if the texture isn't to your liking; I prefer mine to look like apple butter when it is finished.
- Once sauce has reduced, remove from heat allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before spreading evenly in your cooled crust.
- Arrange your cooled pear slices in the tart in layers of circles, starting along the outer crust and working your way to the center.
- Bake your tart on the middle rack of the oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
- While the tart is baking, combine remainder of fig jam with 1 tablespoon of water and 1 teaspoon of honey. Mix until it forms a thick slurry. (You may need to heat the fig jam to help it thin out.)
- Once your tart has finished baking, remove from oven. Brush its surface with the fig liquid using a pastry brush.
- Place the tart on the second-from-top rack of your oven and broil on "low" for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully. You want your pears to caramelize but not to burn.
- Remove from oven; cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Once completely cool, cut tart into 8 slices and serve with a side of vanilla ice cream.